Plans to limit the use of antibiotics on farms, in order to keep food free from resistant bacteria, were adopted by Parliament on Thursday.
The agreement with EU ministers was adopted with 583 votes to 16 and 20 abstentions.
In a separate vote, MEPs also approved, by 583 votes in favour to 31 against and 6 abstentions, new rules on more responsible ways to produce, sell and use medicated feed to tackle the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
- Veterinary medicines must not under any circumstances serve to improve the performance or compensate for poor animal husbandry, says the new law. It would limit the use of antimicrobials as a preventive measure, in the absence of clinical signs of infection (known as prophylactic use) to single animals and not groups. The drugs can be used only when fully justified by a veterinarian in cases where there is a high risk of infection.
- Metaphylactic use (i.e. treating a group of animals when one shows signs of infection) should be a last resort, and only occur once a veterinarian has diagnosed infection and prescribed the antimicrobials.
- To help tackle antimicrobial resistance, the law would empower the European Commission to select antimicrobials to be reserved only for treating humans.
- As advocated by MEPs, the text also imposes that imported foodstuffs will have to meet EU standards and that antibiotics cannot be used to enhance the growth of animals.
- To encourage research into new antimicrobials, the legislation provides for incentives, including longer periods of protection for technical documentation on new medicines and commercial protection for innovative active substances. It also protects significant investments in data generated to improve an existing antimicrobial product or to keep it on the market.
Thursday October 25, 2018/ EP/ European Union.